BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Life in a wheelchair doesn’t have to mean life without lacrosse. That’s the message doctors at Kennedy Krieger are sending patients by creating a wheelchair lacrosse league. It’s not up and running yet.
But, as Gigi Barnett reports, it will be soon.
Mark Flounlacker has always played lacrosse. Once on the field. Now on the court in a wheelchair.
He thought he lost the sport forever after breaking his back in a 2011 hunting accident.
“I have to admit, one of the first things I thought about was never playing lacrosse again,” Flounlacker said.
But he is. He’s part of a push by physical therapists at Kennedy Krieger to develop a wheelchair lacrosse league in Maryland.
“Lacrosse is one of those sports that you put on a helmet and when you strap on the helmet, you just become a different person,” Flounlacker said.
“Wheelchair lacrosse was invented back in 2009, and currently there are only four wheelchair lacrosse leagues nationwide. Sure, it’s good to keep patients strong and active. But there’s a hidden benefit here that you may not see,” said Erin Michael, Kennedy Krieger physical therapist.
“A lot of these men and women were athletes before their injury, so getting them back that identity. You don’t lose that identity just because you get injured. There’s a big piece for reduction in depression,” Michael said.
Michael says the league will keep the sport as authentic as possible.
“They’re checking each other. They’re running into each other. It’s physical. It’s competitive,” Michael said.
And, they’ve already hosted a clinic to find potential players.
“Instead of telling them that they can’t, we’re telling them what they can do, just in a different way,” Michael said.
If you’re interested in joining the wheelchair lacrosse league at Kennedy Krieger, there’s plenty of room on the roster. They’re looking to create three to four more teams. Right now, they only have one.
If you’d like to join the wheelchair lacrosse league, email Media@KennedyKrieger.org.
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